“Choose this day whom you will serve.”
A reading from the Book of Joshua (Joshua24: 14-29)
In those days: Joshua spoke to the people, saying, “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if you be unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. ”Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, and who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land; therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.” But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord; for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No; but we will serve the Lord.” Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” He said, “Then put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel.” And the people said to Joshua, ‘The Lord our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a great stone, and set it up there under the oak in the sanctuary of the Lord. And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us; for it has heard all the words of the Lord which he spoke to us; therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God.” So Joshua sent the people away, every man to his inheritance. After these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being a hundred and ten years old.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm16:1-2aand5.7-8.11(R.see5a)
R/. It is you, O Lord, who are my portion.
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.”
O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
you yourself who secure my lot. R.
I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
Who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord before me always;
With him at my right hand, I shall not be moved. R.
R/. It is you, O Lord, who are my portion.
You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand, bliss forever. R.
ALLELUIA Matthew 11:25
Alleluia. Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom. Alleluia.
“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 19:13-15)
At that time: Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Love is the first skill a leader requires. Joshua, leader of the people of Israel, demonstrated this love when he called the people of Israel to choose whom they wanted to serve. A leader expresses and exercises his love by allowing freedom of choice to those under his leadership, and that is what Joshua did. As the model of all leaders, Jesus applied tender loving care to the children who were coming to him. As a leader he showed this tender love in a special way to all those who were vulnerable, weak, outcasts and down trodden in society. He paid special attention to sinners, the sick and the sorrowful.